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NEWS 10.22.22: Onawa Bank Robbery, College Loan Lawsuit Fails, Iowa Housing Price Jump, and More

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Authorities in Onawa are searching for a suspected bank robber. Few details are being released. Siouxland News CBS-14 Fox-44 reports the crime happened around 10 this morning. West Monona schools issued a lockdown that was lifted a few hours later.

The police chief in Cherokee says there’s a lot of work to do before local school employees would be allowed to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. And, in an interview with Radio Iowa, Police Chief Nate James suggests there’s no guarantee any employee will get the go-ahead.

The Cherokee School Board passed the plan this week. James says he does have children in the school district, but there are a lot of factors to consider before moving forward, including a long training process.

A federal judge has dismissed an effort by six Republican-led states, including Iowa and Nebraska, to block the Biden administration’s plan to forgive student loan debt for tens of millions of Americans. The judge ruled that because the six states failed to establish they had standing, “the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this case.” A spokeswoman for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson says the states will appeal. The other states involved are Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and South Carolina. Democratic President Joe Biden announced in August that his administration would cancel up to $20,000 in education debt for huge numbers of borrowers.

Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson, a critic of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, supports the new debt relief program for farmers.

The USDA is providing $1.3 billion in debt relief to 36,000 farmers who face foreclosure or have fallen far behind in loan payments..”

Hinson says it’s important to take into the financial pressures on farmers since input costs are up about 300%.

Hinson made her comments this morning with a conference call with Iowa reporters before leaving for her first public event this week. Hinson was admitted to a hospital in Cedar Rapids Sunday for treatment of a kidney infection and released Tuesday. Hinson told reporters she feels much better. Hinson, seeking reelection to a second term in the U.S. House, faces Democrat Liz Mathis of Hiawatha in Iowa’s new second congressional district, which includes Mason City and Dubuque as well as Cedar Rapids.

The major freight railroads appear unwilling to give track maintenance workers much more than they received in the initial contract they rejected last week, increasing the chances of a strike. The railroads rejected the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division union's request to add seven days of paid sick time on top of the 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses they received in the first five-year deal. But Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz said Thursday he's confident that all 12 unions will ultimately approve their deals, so the industry can avoid a strike that would be devastating to the economy.

The cost of buying a home continues to go up, according to a trend report released by the Iowa Association of REALTORS. Prices climbed 13.5%, with the median sales price for September at $225,000. That’s $27,000 more than a year ago. However, sales did fall by 24% last month, with about 3,400 properties sold. However, homes still continue to sell quickly, with an average of 31 days on the market. The slowdown is considered seasonal.

The Sioux Gateway Airport Board of Trustees and the 185th Refueling Wing have proposed their immediate needs to the city council to improve the ramp, runway, and hanger. Siouxland News CBS 14 -Fox 44 reports the first priority for both groups is the runway, saying that the runway needs to be completely rebuilt. They proposed on Thursday during their joint city council meeting the idea of an extension for a 10,000-foot runway for military purposes to meet new Air Force standards. The runway improvements alone could cost $120 million dollars with another $65 million for the ramps and hangars. They say it could take 3 years of construction to build and 1 year for the extension runway construction. The 185th says this is the first project at the airport they've requested from the City since 2003, and they will work with the city to secure the needed funding.

Briar Cliff University will start a fundraising campaign for an Indoor Recreation Center to be located on the University’s campus, the Charger Dome. The University has secured a lead gift, and fundraising efforts are underway, with a goal nearing $12M for the project.

For more click here.

News release from the City of Sioux City:

Litter is a concern throughout the year and the city is asking for your help to reduce and eliminate litter. The specific goal is to reduce the amount of trash polluting Iowa’s streams, lakes and rivers. This is accomplished through litter-free behavior and local trash clean-ups on land and in water. The pledge is to pick up 22 pieces of litter on the 22nd of every month through 2022. The next 22on22 litter event is Saturday, October 22, 2022. This is a long-term campaign to bring about behavioral change. The time it takes to pick up the litter around you can be minimal but will have a positive impact on the community. The campaign next year will be 23on23, and so forth.

As consumers, we need to be responsible by properly disposing the material that is left over from products we purchase. This effort continues to be a community effort and everyone’s help is needed.

Ways litter can make its way to the waters of our community:

Storm Drains: Rain washes trash from paved surfaces

  • Overflowing or uncovered trash bins- Please bag your garbage
  • Spills from garbage collection- Please bag your garbage
  • Litter from outdoor events, around businesses and public transit stop

Dumping: Illegal dumping of waste

  • Dumping of household waste on land or in a stream
  • Illegal encampments near water

Wind: Strong gusts of air moves litter

  • Along highway on/off ramps
  • Maintained containments during new construction or remodel projects
  • Litter from uncovered truck beds and other moving vehicles
  • Loose litter inside vehicles which blows out when getting in and out

To help encourage participation on the 22nd of each month this year, supplies are available for litter pick up efforts at the following locations:

  • Sioux City Environmental Services 4th floor of City Hall, 405 6th Street 712-279-6349
  • Sioux City Parks and Recreation Seaboard Triumph Foods Expo Center 550 Expo Center Drive 712-279-6126
  • Downtown Partners 418 Pierce Street 712-252-0014
  • Siouxland Chamber of Commerce 101 Pierce Street 712-255-7903

Find more information on the 22on22 litter campaign at www.iowastormwater.org/campaigns/trash-free-land-trash-free-water and www.sioux-city.org/22on22
Keep your neighborhood trash free and take the 22on22 Pledge!

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.
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